Adventures In Wedding Planning

Until now, I have mainly posted about fashion and food – two things that I enjoy very much and am pretty passionate about. I have recently decided to broaden my content for the simple reason of having more to write about once in a while. Aside from work and blogging, I am currently spending most of my free time wedding planning.

Y-E-S! I am getting married in the spring and I could not be more excited!

I got engaged towards the end of 2013, but have not really done any major wedding planning up until January of this year. With everything that goes into planning a wedding, I thought that it would be great to periodically share my experiences with you.

THE ENGAGEMENT;

The day I got engaged was nothing short of a dream come true. One time my fiancé asked me how I wanted him to propose – I said that all that mattered to me was that he got down on one knee. Well, I got that and so much more. It took months of planning and distraction, but in the end I got a very special mash-up, a musical number with a dance break, and a proposal at the aquarium. Below is the video my brother and cousins had me watch just before I even realized that my now-fiancé had been at the aquarium the whole time.

I could not have asked for a better proposal. My family and friends are so important to me and he managed to include them all in this video. To be honest, I never truly thanked them all for their part in my engagement. I quickly mentioned them in the form of a sarcastic “I hate you for all of your secrecy” in my Facebook status, but not more than that. To all of my family and friends who were a part of this video, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did – no matter how small. I am so thankful to have you all in my life and I love you.

Whether you are having a short or a long engagement, the first month and a half is nothing short of congratulations, well wishes, and pure bliss. Before you get into all of the planning, be sure to enjoy all of the things that come from being newly engaged! This will no doubt be the easiest part of the rest of your lives together.

Stay tuned for part two – choosing the right venue.

Electric Mud BBQ;

ELECTRIC MUD IMAG1048

“If you can kill it, we can grill it!”

I love a good backyard barbecue – food cooked on the grill, a selection of sides,  flavourful sauces, cold drinks, and great company!

Just off of Queen Street West, west of Dufferin Street, is a backyard barbecue experience without elaborate end-of-day clean up. Complete with picnic tables and warm porch lighting, Electric Mud BBQ’s relaxed atmosphere is sure to make you feel – to be perfectly cliché – like you’re at home.

Starters & Sides;

Ahi tuna poke, coleslaw, and potato salad

The ahi tuna poke was the first dish to hit the table, but we’ll come back to that. The coleslaw at Electric Mud is not your everyday, soggy, smothered in mayonnaise, kind of coleslaw – it’s fresh, lightly tossed, and topped with cheese. It really couldn’t get much better; especially for someone who doesn’t always reach for the coleslaw on the table. The potato salad was chunky and creamy, just the way it should be. The size looks small, the portion is actually perfect because it’s so filling.

Back to the poke (POH-keh) – this is definitely a must-order item and it was my favourite dish of the evening. Poke is a Hawaiian dish made from raw Yellow Fin Tuna (marinated in sea salt), soy sauce, roasted crushed kukui (candle) nut, sesame oil, seaweed, and crushed chillies. To be perfectly honest, I was very surprised at how authentic the poke tasted at Electric Mud. If you have ever been to Hawai’i, I would say that this is the place to go to get your poke fix!

A word of caution – if you are not a fan of sashimi, then poke is not for you.

PROTEINS & ALCOHOL;

Dry-rubbed beef ribs, BBQ chicken (not on the regular menu), and the Porch Crawler

Electric Mud’s BBQ Chicken is also a must-order item, but sadly it is not a part of the regular menu. We were lucky enough to come on a night when it was one of the specials for the day. Without any barbecue sauce basted on, the chicken had such a great smoky flavour and the inside was so juicy. I actually tried to order a second one, but they were sold out by the time our server came around again. As for the beef ribs, I liked the flavour of the dry rub, but the meat was a little bit too dry for my liking. Don’t let that discourage you, though, from trying them.

My drink of choice, the Porch Crawler, is made with Thai basil gin, watermelon, lemonade, and simple syrup. This simple, very refreshing cocktail is so light and very easy to drink. Something to note – all cocktails at Electric Mud BBQ can be ordered as a pitcher!

THE LOOK;

Dark denim jeans (H&M), a basic black t-shirt (Zara), layered with a statement denim jacket (BCBGMAXAZRIA), accessorized with my favourite grey booties (Aldo)

Don’t forget to check out Electric Mud BBQ’s website – http://www.electricmudbbq.com

Moo Frites;

MOO FRITES IMAG0844

This post, and many others, have been a long time coming – I have been going through a few transitions in the last month and a half: new job, new projects, just a new schedule in general. It’s been crazy these past few weeks trying to figure out a new flow and routine and it has been so difficult trying to find some time to sit down and write. Again, I apologize for my lack in posts, but now that things have settled down I will be sure to keep Chic Indulgence updated!

If you follow me on Instagram (@chicinulgenceblog), you already know how obsessed I am with Moo Frites. Located in Kensington Market, this take out counter has the best Belgian-style hand-cut fries.

The fries come in various sizes, with a plethora of dipping sauces to choose from – trust me, it’s so hard to choose! – and they are always served in a paper cone with a tiny fork. Being the big eater that I am, I found the fork so comical the first time I ate at Moo Frites. You can only pick up one fry at a time! Rest assured, you can still enjoy your fries in all their glory and it’s interesting to note that that is the way Belgians serve their fries anyway (there’s a comment from Moo Frites on one of my Instagram photos about this).

If fries and dipping sauce aren’t enough to satisfy you and you’re looking for a little something more, let me direct you to the other side of the menu. They also have three types of “speciality fries” – War Fries, Japo Fries, and Kimchi Fries. My favourite is, by far the Kimchi Fries (pictured above). With just a little bit of a kick, the kimchi is a bit mild, so if you can’t handle spicy food you are still able to have them. If you do enjoy spicy food the way I do, there is still enough flavour for you to enjoy it as well. The speciality fries only come in one size, so bring your appetite or bring a friend if you order them. They’re so good though, you probably won’t have any problems finishing them!

The next time you visit Kensington Market, make sure you leave room in your stomach for Moo Frites! Be sure to check them out on Facebook as well – https://www.facebook.com/moofrites

The Look

Leather jacket – BCBG MAXAZRIA | Top – H&M | Pants – Zara | Shoes – Keds | Bag – Kate Spade

Protect Mauna Kea;

I have been wanting to write about Mauna Kea and the ongoing protests against the building of a $1.4 billion thirty metre telescope on The Big Island of Hawai’i for some time now – as the Hawaiian government has placed a moratorium on the project, this is the perfect time to put my thoughts to paper; so to speak.

It has been almost two weeks since the demonstrations began. On March 30th, protesters in Hilo formed road blocks outside of the Mauna Kea visitors’ centre, and the support has been growing each day since then. Countless numbers of people, not just around the islands and the mainland, but around the world, have been taking to social media to show their support for the protection of the mountain. Many celebrities have also been posting #WeAreMaunaKea photos on Instagram – Jason Momoa, Nicole Scherzinger, Jai Courtney, Lisa Bonet, and Zoe Kravitz to name a few.

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano standing 4205 metres above sea level and it is the highest point of elevation in the entire state. The dormant volcano is considered one of the most sacred areas on Hawai’i as it is the home of the snow goddess, Poli’ahu.

As a Canadian who has been immersed in Hawaiian Culture from a very young age, I have been deeply saddened and upset by the events that are currently taking place in Hilo. While it is a great thing that science and astronomy have come so far that we are able to build a telescope of this capacity, I do not agree with building an additional telescope on Mauna Kea when there are already so many up there, not to mention, the construction site is infringing upon sacred ground. I have been raised in a home deeply rooted in hula and the belief that the `âina (land) has been entrusted to us and it is our responsibility to care for it and protect it. It is not okay for the government and the University of Hawai’i to disregard the importance of this mountain and what has been rooted there for thousands of years – far longer than the existence of any telescope.
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Here is what you need to know:

  1. There are currently thirteen telescopes on Mauna Kea. The basis for the new telescope is that it will be far more advanced than the ones already in existence – “It will be able to see much fainter and more distant objects than is possible with existing telescopes and to study them in greater detail. It will help to maintain Hawaiʻi’s worldwide leadership in astronomy” (www.hawaii.edu).
  2. The protests are not about being “anti-science”. There have been reports that the Hawaiian people are against the advancement of science and as such are forming the demonstrations. This is simply not the case. As I mentioned, Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred sites on Hawai’i – it is not that the protesters are against the progression of science, it is that the protection of the land is far more important to them. Therefore, the demonstrations are not against the telescope itself, but the location of where it is being built.
  3. The telescope will be thirty metres in height, approximately eighteen stories tall and will be roughly the size of a football field – a structure of this height would not otherwise be permitted in Hawai’i.
  4. Governor David Ige announced the week-long halt on construction, beginning April 7th,  as a means to reconsider the construction. “Today I announced a week-long stand down of construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope so I can evaluate the situation from multiple perspectives” (www.indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com). Perhaps Ige will see the best option is move the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) Project elsewhere – replace an older telescope with this newer one. Maintaining the integrity of the university and keeping true to the land.
  5. Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has committed to a partnership in the building of the telescope. While we are unsure of the final numbers, it is said that Canada will contribute approximately $243.5 million. While this will mean an international partnership with the US, India, China, and a few others, I do not believe that this is worth the defiling of sacred land.

Who knows what the outcome will be at the end of the week, but for now we have to continue to show our support for the TMT Shutdown and the protection of Mauna Kea. Please help create awareness for the Hawaiian people and post a photo with the words “We Are Mauna Kea” on all of your social media outlets. You can sign the petition to stop further development at www.petitions.moveon.org or www.change.org.

Stay informed by subscribing to the Facebook page – Protect Mauna Kea

You can also show your support by purchasing a We Are Mauna Kea T-shirt from 50th State Of Mind. $10 of each shirt sold will go towards the fight to protect Mauna Kea. Shirts can also be purchased in youth sizes. 

Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai’i

Being perpetuated (is) the sovereignty of the land to righteousness/ to balance, Hawai`i

Smith Bros. Steakhouse Tavern;

The spread — 10 oz. grilled sirloin with crumbled bacon and bourbon gravy and a side of panko shrimp, and a 7 oz. sirloin topped with poached lobster and shrimp in a brandy cream sauce; both served with garlic mashed potatoes.

Smith Bros. Steakhouse Tavern is located near the corner of Warden Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East in Scarborough. I have only been there once before, after an appointment at the David’s Bridal across the street, but on that occasion I ordered the all-you-can-eat mussels – which were great, by the way. This time around, I thought I would celebrate my mom’s birthday with a really great steak.

With the quality and variety of cuts that Smith Bros. has to offer, I consider them comparable to The Keg. I ordered from the “Fancy Steaks” section of the menu – the poached lobster and shrimp caught my eye from the moment I glanced over the menu. Since the sauce is based in a brandy, it has a very strong flavour but not so much that you can’t enjoy the seafood and mushrooms in it. For all of you sauce lovers, they top your steak and provide you with a small gravy boat so you can have as much saucy goodness as you would like.

Beer taster

Beer taster

Another aspect that Smith Bros. has to offer is The Tavern Sampler. Unlike the samplers at Bier Markt, you can choose any four taps for $7; there are no set options. If you cannot decide on a beer, the menu only has eight draughts on tap. For $7 you can sample half of the draughts Smith Bros. has to offer.

For dessert, I kept it relatively simple by ordering Chris and Adam’s Awesome Sundae. Made with spiked pralines and cream ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate and pralines.

Don’t forget to visit their website! – http://www.smithbrotherssteakhouse.com

Fashion Week Essentials;

TOFW Essentials

Toronto World MasterCard Fashion Week is only a few days away. You bought your tickets, planned all of your outfits, but what is going to be in your bag? Between shows, events, and parties, it’s one long week – do you have everything you need to help make it through?

Here are a few essentials that are crucial to Fashion Week survival.

A great pair of low-heel booties – Heels and stilettos are great. They’re fabulous and make your legs look amazing, but if you’re flat-footed like me (such a curse, I know) you need a shoe that can keep up with you and all of the running around you’ll be doing. An added bonus – you won’t need to rest your feet, and you won’t need to pack that “just-in-case” pair of flats for when your feet finally give out.

Your favourite protein bar – I always have one or two Cliff Crunch Bars in my purse for the longer work days, so of course I will stash a couple more for fashion week. You’ll need to keep your strength and energy up and with everything happening around you, you might not have a moment to stop and buy that quinoa bowl.

Coconut water – Speaking of keeping your energy up, it’s also important to keep hydrated. Don’t forget to throw a bottle of water in your bag or grab a coconut water to restore those electrolytes. Coffee or tea is also super important for my fellow caffeine addicts; plan on increasing your intake next week.

Breath mints – Another essential for me; I never leave the house without some – Ice Breakers to be specific. It’s always important to keep your breath minty fresh – you never know who you’ll be shaking hands with.

Notebook – For any notes or quick sketches you need to make during shows. The next day is always fun and interesting when you to try and decipher everything you wrote while not looking at the page.

Lip colour – For touch-ups and reapplications. Don’t forget to have your lip balm, liner and gloss in your bag to keep your lips kissable and looking just as fabulous as the rest of your outfit.

Toronto Fashion Week kicks of on Monday, March 23rd, 2015 – http://www.http://worldmastercardfashionweek.com/ 

Holy Chuck;

Their business is burgers. With a menu of about thirty different variations, how could it not be. Unlike the the menu at Wild Buger (see previous post), Holy Chuck makes all its burgers with the original hamburger protein, which is freshly ground on-site. Don’t think that this makes your choice any easier, because it doesn’t. For adventurous types, it can be hard to choose your first time out. Oh yeah, and you also have the option to upgrade your burger to an all bacon patty or a lamb one.

The spread – The Jerky Cow: a double cheeseburger fried in a spicy and salty jerk sauce, topped with bacon and a fresh slice of seared pineapple; served with an order or onion rings and lemon herb aioli. Dessert: Nutella funnel cake and a deep fried Twinkie.

A little bit greasy for my liking, but it was spicy with the perfect touch of sweetness from the pineapple. Although I haven’t tried any of the other burgers on the menu yet, I feel already as if this will be my go to. In my first visit to Holy Chuck I ordered the truffle fries, although a little expensive, are worth every penny. As much as I wanted to have them this time around, I gave up french fries for Lent and had ordered onion rings instead. The onion rings are panko breaded instead of the traditional batter and pair well with the aioli for dipping.

A Nutella funnel cake and a deep fried Twinkie. Need I say more? They were both just as delicious and satisfying as you can imagine – hot from the deep fryer, topped with ice cream and fruit sauce. If you still have room after your meal, you must get either one or both of these!

Holy Chuck has two locations – one in Toronto at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue West, and the other one (which I went to) in Woodbridge at Highway 7 and Pine Valley Drive.

Don’t forget to visit their website for their full menu – http://www.holychuckburgers.com